The Process of Seeing Patients

DSC00934Even in this day and age, there are still chiefs who oversee the villages.  In advance of our visit, someone had called on and spoken with the chief of Budukrom for permission for the medical outreach to take place in his village.  Acts in Afrika, a group of Ghanaians who participate in many medical outreaches, is well organized.  By the time the last of us arrived at the village, they had already gathered desks and chairs from the primary school building and arranged them outside in the shade of a group of trees.  There was a large area set up where the villagers gathered initially to learn who we were and why we were there.  Then, one by one, they would speak with the counselors—people who asked if the villager was a Christian.  If the villager was, he or she was encouraged to continue their walk with God.  If not, they were given the opportunity to become Christians.

Then they moved on to the blood pressure station.  This is the area where I helped.  Although I know a little Twi, most of the villagers speak Ewe in this area, and many don’t even know English.  For this reason, I was assigned a Ghanaian translator to help me with communication.  Even so, hand signals and body language communicated most of the directions I needed to give.  My translator, a veteran volunteer and third year nursing student, took this opportunity to assess and address the nutrition of the adults and their children as they came to our station.  Next the villagers each spoke with a doctor or medical resident about their health concerns or problems.  The doctor would then send them to the pharmacy area for the prescribed medications.

Afterwards, some went back to their homes to send their family members and friends to see us.  Each person went through this process, and we were able to help 150 to 200 people ranging from babies and children, young adults, to the elderly (this term is used in a relative sense since Ghanaians have a life expectancy of 55 to 57 years) before 3 p.m.  We got a good idea of some areas where the people in this village need help and teaching.  These will be a focus of future visits to Budukrom.

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